Last weekend Pippa’s Guardians, delivered our very first British Boarding School Fair in Japan ( Our decision to run such an event was based on the increasing level of interest in our School Advice Service as well as increased Guardianship enquiries.

Our goal is to recruit students from the Japanese market my demystifying UK Boarding Schools and making them more accessible. We have started this process by bringing 15 leading boarding schools to Japan where they met with over 400 families in one day. The volume of interest was simply extraordinary, and schools had lines of families waiting to speak to them from 10am to 430pm. Furthermore, information seminars provided some further context for Japanese families and feedback suggest the event itself was a roaring success.

Our research and the attendance at our event, demonstrates that more and more Japanese families are looking to access UK boarding schools for their children, often as young as 9 years old. The ISC census confirms that, in the last 10 years, there has been a 117% increase in Japanese students enrolling in UK Boarding Schools. In further research we discovered that most Japanese families see UK boarding schools as distant, inaccessible, expensive and very traditional. There is a misconception that our schools are beyond the reach of many Japanese families and therefore schools in America, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand have been the ‘go to’ option.

Aside from running an extremely popular fair we are hosting information sessions both online and in person in Japan to talk about UK Boarding Schools. Information sessions that are well received by Japanese families as they simply lack the necessary information to make informed decisions about UK boarding schools. We have also received a lot of interest from the Japanese media; Prior to the event, we were interviewed no less than five times by leading media organisations all keen to understand the UK boarding school market further.

Ben Hughes, Managing Director for Pippa’s and managed the event in Japan. “When I was 10 years old my school had two Japanese and three Thai students as boarders and this was in 1991. It was a transformation experience for me as a young boy, I loved meeting these new cultures and getting to know them better. We even acted as their host family and visited them in Asia – wonderful!  My point is, Japanese students have been coming to UK boarding schools for years, when properly advised it can be hugely beneficial for Japanese students but also very positive for the British students too, as I can attest. Whilst Japanese students coming to UK schools isn’t new, what is changing is the sheer volume and the increase in demand for information about our schools.“

Japanese students and UK Boarding Schools, it’s a thriving, vibrant and positive collaboration for all parties and we’ll see numbers of students really starting to increase in 2024 and beyond.

Nicola Hugget attended the event representing Cheltenham College. “Our experience of the Pippa’s Guardians fair in Japan was superb. It was very well-advertised in country ensuring a large turn-out of families and we felt it was an excellent first introduction for us into the Japanese market. The trip itself encompassed many interesting elements, not just meeting parents and pupils, but also helping us to understand more of the culture. The level of information that parents received was excellent as it ensured they made informed choices in who they approached. The whole event, and subsequent visits around the fair itself were very thoughtfully and carefully structured. The use of excellent translators was also a terrific detail that made a huge difference. We will certainly want to attend future Pippa’s events overseas.”

We are very grateful for the 15 schools who took the ‘leap of faith’ with us and came all the way to Tokyo (some just for the weekend) to recruit students and to support us at our inaugural event.

Our sincere thanks to:


Mr Tim Day, Ms Laura Bursey Faulkner and Mr Neil Hampton from Rugby School

Mr Giles Vosper Brown from Stowe School

Mr Richard Houchin from Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Ms Lorna Dolan from Sevenoaks School

Ms Jane Jorgensen from Abingdon School

Dan Thornburn and James Postle from Millfield Prep School and Millfield School

Ms Nicola Hugget and Mr Simon Conner from Cheltenham College

Mr Dylan Smart from Blundells School

Ms Jo Covenay and Ms Lizzy Lewis from Christ’s Hospital School

Ms Pauline Jackson from Malvern College

Mr David Watkin from Culford School

My James Hills from Clifton College

Ms Rachel Debenham from Wellington School

Ms Donna Cresswell from Queenswood School

Most importantly, Amelia and Archie Hughes representing The Elms School!


If you are interested to hear more about how Pippa’s Guardians can help your school recruit students from Japan please do get in touch with Ben Hughes.

Arigato, until next year!